Chris has not felt so well this week. He has a summer cold and thus he has not felt like riding so much. On Wednesday he opted to ride his bike home from work rather than race. This actually resulted in more riding for him as the race was rained out. Thursday, while still not feeling well, we were out for 3.5 hours and then he coughed the entire way home from Alpine. After riding a bit on Friday he said that he was not sure he wanted to do anything too big on Saturday.
Luckily, Erica had invited me to join her and her brother-in-law, Carl, on a scouting ride on the PCP2P course. I accepted. Now I don't and never have ridden much without Chris. In fact, I am not sure I have ever been invited to join another group on a ride and done so without him. As this was uncharted territory for me, I grew a bit nervous. What if I was late? I had to drive to Silver Lake Lodge and be there by 6 am. What if I was too slow? Having a group wait for me a bit with Chris is not so bad. I know that if I am falling behind, he will come back for me. What if I have a mechanical? Chris takes care of me. Yes, I can change a flat. Yes, I can fix a broken chain, etc. But Chris usually takes care of these things in a timely manner. Oh, the "what if''s..."!
The night before, I start preparing my bike to ensure I would not delay them in the morning. I lubed my chain, checked my shock, got all my riding food prepared. I started planning what recovery food I would pack. I would check my tire pressure in the morning before leaving. I set my alarm for 4 am, went to bed early, and got some sleep.
The preparation paid off for the most part. I left on time. But realized I forgot to put the chocolate milk in the cooler for recovery. I showed up a little before light, so I was grateful to have had my chain lubed and tires pumped. I packed my pockets and we left. I don't think they had to wait for me more than a minute or so. I did forget to grab my pump. Son of a...! I was pretty nervous about the possibility of getting a flat. Luckily, I did not need it, but it would have been convenient as Carl could have used it.
All my nervousness and anxiety was for naught though. It was a great ride. We held a good tempo the entire day. My average HR was 145 which is good for five hours of ride time. (Erica said it was just shy of five hours of pedal time. I did not pedal the whole time though. I like to ease up a bit on the down hills.) We got to the Canyons at around 4.5 hours, but Erica wanted to get five. So she paid Carl off to get her a Coke and said we would go do some more climbing. While I, too, was hoping for five hours, I definitely could have been done. Going out again sounded painful and it was a bit, but worth it.
Carl did the ride on a single speed rigid. Now I can appreciate that, but I don't completely understand it. If is were me, I would at least put a front shock on it. I really think the lack of suspension will be more limiting than the single speed. But I am not one of those single speed, rigid elitist. I just dabble in it. Kudos to him and best of luck.
This will be Erica's first endurance mountain bike event. I think she is going to be good and really enjoy herself. We talked some about what she should expect and some basic tactics. I am not sure I gave her the best advice, but I shared with her my experiences and what has worked for me. In talking to her throughout the ride, I gained even greater respect for her. She is a great individual; I am glad to have met and have the pleasure to be associated with her. I sincerely hope that we stay in touch.
And really the people I meet are some of the biggest reasons I love to mountain bike.